Growing Engagement Gives Rise to Mobile Social Phones

How much time do you think consumers spend engaging in social networking on their mobile phones? Would you believe nearly 60 percent? Ground Truth, a Seattle-based mobile measurement firm, said today that it’s found consumers use their phones for social networking activities a staggering 59.83 percent of the time.
And INQ’s Social Mobile, which it unveiled at February’s Mobile World Congress Show, is just one of numerous handsets aimed at riding the cresting wave of engagement through social networking features:

  • Motorola’s (s mot) Motoblur — Announced in September at our Mobilize 09 event, Motoblur is a customized interface for Motorola’s Android phones that shows real-time status updates from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace right on the home screen. Users can update their own status directly through any Motorola phone that supports Motoblur — such as the Cliq or Backflip — making the interface a two-way social portal.
  • Microsoft (s msft) Kin — Two Kin models were announced this month that are targeted squarely at the social networking teenager. The phones support simple drag-and-drop sharing of pictures, video, and location on Facebook, My Space, Twitter and Windows Live. And all content shared or created on the phones is available online in a unique timeline.
  • Sony Ericsson (s sne) (s eric) Zylo and Spiro — Just announced two weeks ago, the Zylo and Spiro combine the music features of the Walkman brand with native Facebook and Twitter applications. Users can share not only their current status, but tell the world what tunes they’re enjoying in real time.
  • Nokia (s nok) C3, C6, and E5 — This trio of social networking handsets from Nokia were also introduced earlier this month. Each offers quick access to read or update status on Facebook or Twitter, but also tie into Nokia’s own Ovi service, which adds image sharing and instant messaging features.

While most modern phones allow for installing social networking applications or using the web to check and update one’s status, it may not be long before all phones offer native and direct ties to the big social networks. The open question then, is: Will the data networks be able to handle the demand created by all of us tweeting, sharing photos and using Facebook from our phones?
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):